Thursday, May 08, 2008

Old Pecan Street Art Festival

Saturday May 3, 2008
I cannot believe that I never wanted to do the Pecan St Art festival. Thousands passed by my booth, and I spoke with many interesting and fun people. My location was great! I was on 6th St between San Jacinto and Brazos. Since many people entered at Brazos, I was almost at the beginning. It was awesome! A very exciting part of Saturday was when a couple came into my booth at the very end of the evening and purchased 3 pieces! Yeehaw!! This was the first time this had happened, so it was very, very exciting! They came into my booth and decided on "Austin Alive," but then decided to get 2 more. Their reasoning was that "RAWRRRRR" represented him, "Behind Every Great Building" represented her and "Austin Alive" represented the two of them together. This was a cool interpretation, And very exciting!!! 

Sunday May 4, 2008
I arrived at my booth to find that it had been inhabited overnight by a visitor. There was security, but the person obviously entered my tent when the security patrol had passed. He/she left behind liquid remnants. The velvet cover on from my table was soaked with urine. I am sure that he/she didn’t want to get caught, so by urinating on the velvet cover, none leaked out to street giving away his/her location. It was soooooooo disgusting!!! Luckily for me, the 24 hr store across the way gave me a plastic bag so that I could take the cover off and wrap it up. And I had antibacterial wipes with which to wash my hands afterwards. I was fortunate enough to have another velvet cover that I used to replace the wet one. As a matter of fact I have 5 total velvet covers, so the person could have stayed for 3 more nights (J/K--gross)… My neighbors happen to sell fragrance oils, so Kiki came over and dropped some around my booth. Ocean Breeze replaced the yucky urine smell….Ha Ha……..I will definitely find a way to lock my zippers so that my tent isn’t as easily accessible. The whole story is very funny now…….………LOL….
In addition to the overnight visitor excitement, I spoke with several people about possible exhibitions. Both are local restaurants, with Kerbey Lane being a place that I really like to eat (especially their Kerbey Queso…yum yum….I love cheese). I am not sure exactly when the exhibitions will take place, but I will update you as soon as I know!
Overall, the Pecan St Art Festival was a great time! I love people watching and talking with people so it was right up my alley. The days were long, but well worth it. I will give it a try in the fall so that I can compare to my results this past weekend.

The Madonna CD is excellent. I have listened to it non-stop for the last week. I really like it. My
favorite song on it right now is “She’s Not Me.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Woohoo--Madonna's new CD out tomorrow

Woohoo........Tomorrow Madonna's new CD comes out.......I can't wait!!!!!!! I have been listening to her last CD (Confessions on a Dance Floor) over, and over, and over, and over.......getting ready for the new one......I have even heard rumors that she is coming to Austin for a CD release party..........we will have to see if they are just that--rumors............I am not sure she has ever been to Texas, so it would be awesome if she were to come here.....

I will be getting up early to try and get the CD before work tomorrow........

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sacramento and San Francisco

Thursday March 13, 2008:I arrived at the Sacramento Airport and was picked up and greeted by my old friend, Cheryl, whom I have known for over half my life now. It seems crazy that time goes by so fast, and that I have known her that long. We were roommates at the Air Force Academy and lived together in Tucson for a few years after we both left the Academy. I hadn’t seen her in 9 years or so, and it was truly great to see her and be able to spend time with her.
The plan was to take sunset photos of the Tower Bridge in Old Sac. We walked along the Sacramento River (I think this is what it is called) searching for the right spot, which we found on the deck at Joe’s Crab Shack on the river. Once the spot was found, we browsed in some stores. It was such a cute area! Cheryl invited some of her friends to join us for dinner, of whom I really liked. I had good time at dinner, though we ate outside and it started getting a bit cold (thanks guys for eating outside!). The pictures of the bridge didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked, but so it goes for an artist/photographer. After dinner, we headed back to Cheryl’s house, outside of Sacramento. She and I took a short trip down memory lane by looking at photos from Tucson. Unfortunately, I did not remember many of the times portrayed in the photos. Cheryl asked me why I thought I didn’t remember. I didn’t have an answer.
Friday March 14, 2008:
Yosemite was the plan for the day! Woohoo! I couldn’t wait to see this park! We left Cheryl’s house in the late morning, and stopped by Starbucks where she ordered a triple- shot-caramel macchiato, and I ordered my usual venti-quad-no-whip iced mocha. Then we started on our way to Yosemite. Cheryl drove, so I cannot even tell you the roads that we took, but it was a beautiful drive, with green rolling hills, cute farmhouses, and a reservoir. She pulled over many times so that I could take photos. We talked a lot, and listened to music, and sometimes said nothing at all. It seemed as if the connection we once had was still there. I suppose that some lifetime connections will be always be there!
Upon arriving at the park, I took photos of Half Moon, Bridal Falls, Yosemite Falls and many more formations. It was so beautiful, and I was in wonder each time I pressed the shutter. I realize how insignificant we are, compared to nature and all of Earth’s powers. So cool! So Cool! There was snow, but it wasn’t too cold. Next time, I will have to make time for camping (in the already provided tent cabins) and spend several days there. I really want to be there when the flowers are in bloom, and get some shots of Mirror Lake.
After the park, we made our way to Cheryl’s aunt’s house, who lived close to Yosemite. Her aunt was crazy and fun and had made us a wonderful dinner. Yum Yum! It was really great to meet her and talk with her about some of her life experiences! She has had a very interesting life and many, many experiences.
From her aunt’s house, we drove back to Cheryl’s where we once again talked (about movies, in particular Miss Congeniality, and elephants, etc.) and listened to music. At one point, Cheryl stopped to pick up a rock for her backyard. She has a thing for rocks, which is pretty cool and interesting (she has done an amazing job of the pond in her backyard and the waterfall into her pool, both of which are made of rocks, and I was mighty impressed with her work).
Saturday March 15, 2008
The morning started with Cheryl bringing us (Cara and I) coffees from Starbucks, which was really nice of her to do. Then I was introduced to the music of Ani DiFranco. I had heard her name before, but had never listened to her music. She has a great voice, and her songs are really moving (since getting home, I have even ordered some of her cds). After coffee, we decided, on the advice and of Cara, to go to Monterey. So to Monterey the three of us headed, listening to Madonna, Melissa Etheridge, etc. Again, I was watching the scenery and do not know the roads that we took. But along the way was a windfarm, and I don’t know how many windmills there were, but there were a lot. I tried to capture a few shots, and hopefully got a few good ones, even though we were moving. Once we arrived in Monterey, we went to a rocky shore where there were tide pools. The view was extremely beautiful, with the blue-green waves crashing against the rocks, and the puffy white clouds hovering over the ocean providing an even more dramatic effect against the blue sky. An awesome sight it was! After the tide pools, we drove the 17 mile drive to see the beautiful oceanside. After the 17 mile drive, we dined at a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf. Then it was time for sunset photos from the tide pool rocks. The tide had come in, and there was a cute seal swimming around, though I was not able to see it very well. Sunset was gorgeous. I love this time of day. When the sun sets and the air seems so quiet, I am in a world of my own taking in the beautiful color changes in the sky, in the rocks and in the water. This is definitely my time to be in awe, self reflect and capture the ever-changing light of day.
Sunday March 16, 2008:
This was the day to go to San Francisco and spend some time with my own aunt, Gay. Cheryl and I got up early to go and take sunrise photos of the Tower Bridge before heading to San Francisco. It was a little chilly that morning, but the sunrise was great and the light on the bridge was very pretty as the sun rose. It was a quiet morning and several people were living under the bridge in tents. We tried not to disturb their sleep as I took the photos. After photos, was Starbucks once again, and then breakfast at a cute little Mexican restaurant. It was fun because we were the only ones in the restaurant. I suppose the rest of the world was sleeping in on Sunday. After breakfast, we headed to San Francisco, which is about an hour and a half away from Sacramento. Upon arriving in San Francisco, the sky was extremely clear and the Golden Gate Bridge was very visible. Cheryl drove me to my Gay’s house in Redwood City (which is close to San Fran). When we arrived at my aunt’s, we went to a place called Filoli, which stands for Fight, Love, Live. The mansion on the grounds was truly amazing as were the flowers, plants and trees. It was a mosaic of beautiful colors, and I took many, many photos there. From Filoli, we headed to a local restaurant. When it was time to order food, I was a little distracted by some of the events of the day, and could hardly decide what to eat, much less eat it when it arrived. I think I ordered a club sandwich, or something. After lunch, we headed back to my Gay’s house and Cheryl left. I was sad to see her leave since we had such a good time.
The Golden Gate Bridge and city photos were next on the agenda. Gay and I headed the parking lot on one side of the Golden Gate, and then walked half-way across the bridge, and then back to the parking lot. During our walk, local police officers drove up to the bridge, threw flares over the bridge, and the coastguard drove to where the flares were. We never did find out what they were doing. I can only assume that they were performing some kind of drill. After we were back in the parking lot, I set up my tripod to take the sunset and twilight photos of both the city and the Golden Gate. My batteries died just as the sky turned black.
Monday Mar 17, 2008:
The morning started with a trip to Starbucks before heading to a park that looked across to the Golden Gate and the city for sunrise photos. Gay and I were the only ones at this park, and it was so quiet, and serene and beautiful! We spent about an hour there so I could capture the morning sunrise. Then my batteries in my camera died again (even though I had charged them the night before). I had bought a new battery before the trip, I think that I need a new charger.
We headed back to Gay’s house so I could charge my batteries. After that we headed to drive along the Pacific 1 where the cliffs jutted out against the water. It was cool! I love the ocean! We ate at a little restaurant where I ordered fish tacos, which were just okay. From the restaurant, we headed to Treasure Island, where there was an awesome view of the Bay Bridge. I will definitely put sunset photos of the bay bridge from Treasure Island on my agenda next time. After that, Gay and headed to Twin Peaks to see the panoramic view of San Francisco. It was sooooo cool…… I took some photos, but will have to take more next time. From Twin Peaks, we headed to the Rodin Sculpture garden at Stanford. Once at the sculpture garden, I looked at each of the sculptures. My favorite was the “The Gates of Hell”, as there was extraordinary detail in it!! After the sculpture garden, we headed back to Gay’s to relax a bit. We ordered more Mexican food from a restaurant near her house. Gay and I ate fish tacos (which were much much better than the fish tacos earlier in the day) and Bob (Gay’s husband) ate a vegetarian burrito. It was fun to be able to visit with Bob, as I had only met him twice before! He sure is a happy little cheese eater, and you know that I love cheese too, so we definitely hit it off!
Tuesday Mar 18, 2008:
Time to head home. I loved California. There is such a diverse landscape, and so many things to do. I can definitely see myself having a second place out there. Many artists are based in more than one place, and I hope to be one of those!!
California was awesome!! Thanks to Cheryl, Cara, Gay and Bob!!!! You are super!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

“Mr.________”—memories of the past

Awhile ago, Katharine Hepburn’s name came up in conversation, which led to a discussion of my telemarketing job for a local portrait department while I was living in Tucson. I was about 21 at the time. My job was to call people to tell them that they could win a free 8 x 10 if they were able to answer a question concerning the Oscar winner for Best Actress in 1969. People probably didn’t know that there was a tie that year and that both Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn won. The people I was calling had a 66% chance of winning the 8 x10. So where is this story going, you ask? Well nowhere really, except that telemarketing wasn’t for me and I proceeded to seek another job…….enter “Mr. ____.” I'll refrain from using his name (if that was even his name). He was an older man of about 60 or so. He said he owned a construction company and that he built additions onto homes and such. He had advertised for an “assistant” in the newspaper (when we still looked for jobs in newspapers). His office was within walking distance of our apartment which was definitely a plus……..On the day of my interview, I walked over to his office, which was barren with the exception of a few old pieces of furniture and a very old typewriter that looked as if it were from the 1920s…….During the interview, “Mr. _______” asked me a few basic interview questions, and then told me I needed to take a typing test…….ha ha ha ha ha…….guess what? I passed…..He even immediately hired to start the next day. I arrived at 8:00 am the next day. The morning’s task was for me to walk around a neighborhood and place flyers in people’s doors to advertise his construction services. In the afternoon the goal was to go and check out the progress of a current addition project. It sure was a long drive to the site. Along the way, “Mr. ______” began telling me about all the trips we would be taking…to Las Vegas… to Mexico… etc….. It became very apparent that his definition of “assistant” and my definition of “assistant” were two completely different things. Needless to say, I did not show up for “work” the next day. I didn’t get paid either.  

Monday, March 03, 2008

MOD Coffeehouse--FUN FUN FUN

Saturday Mar. 1, 2008:
The Artwalk at MOD Coffehouse and Cafe was great on Saturday night. I was able to talk to many fun people. Hillary and Obama campaigners had set up across the street from each other because they knew that there would be many people to talk to before Mar 4 (voting day in TX)........Around 8:30 pm or so, we received a flyer stating that Melanie Griffith , and others, would be at MOD on Sunday from 11-12. We had no idea any Hollywood people would be in Galveston. So of course, we planned to come back to MOD in the morning!

Sunday Mar 2, 2008:
Dad and I headed back to MOD in Galveston around 8:00 am. We arrived at MOD, bought a coffee, surfed the web and hung out until 11:00. Not only did Melanie Griffith show up, but so did Erika Alexander, Christine Lahti, and other special guests. They spoke about why people should vote for Hillary Clinton, answered questions from the audience (of about 24), and then sat down separately with small groups of people to answer questions. Melanie went outside while the others remained inside MOD. Of course people took the opportunity to ask for photographs.

Melanie Griffith:
I hadn't even brought my camera in because I thought it would have been dorky to ask for a picture. But when everyone started asking, Dad retrieved his camera from the van. I asked for a picture with Melanie Griffith. Sometime between my asking and actually taking the photo, someone mentioned that my artwork was inside. Melanie told me that it was ,"Great work." So Dad took the picture, and strangely enough Melanie said to me afterward, "You smell good." Ha ha ha......I thanked her and went back into MOD. Later inside MOD, Melanie complimented me once again on my work, and when I asked if she wanted a card, she "yes" with some enthusiasm. Later, I saw her talking to Angela, the owner of MOD, about a piece called, "Waiting for Her" (a piece with a peacock).

Erika Alexander:
I was standing by the counter inside MOD and Erika Alexander introduced herself to me. Earlier she had stated that she drove from Austin. When I told her I was from Austin, she asked why I was there. I explained that my work was hanging in MOD and that I had been there for the opening reception. Erika then complimented me on work as well, and genuinely seemed interested in it. She took the time to really look around. When I asked if she minded if Dad took a picture, she obliged. Then she asked Dad to take a picture of us with her camera and the artwork in the background. That was pretty cool. She took my card as well.

Christine Lahti:
I didn't get a chance to talk to her, but spoke really highly of Hillary Clinton.

All-in-all it was just fun fun fun!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Los Angeles Trip!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday 1/17/08
Well we arrived in Los Angeles about noon, waited for the shuttle to take us to the car rental place, got our car and headed to the Radisson by LAX. Even though the hotel was right next to LAX, we were not bothered one bit by the aircraft landing and taking off. After settling in at the hotel—I unpacked and placed all my clothes in the drawers and in the closet, but Kristy (my sis) did not—we turned on the GPS system, which we name Allie, in the Dodge Charger we rented and drove to Santa Monica Pier. As the sun began to set, the lights on the rides on the pier began to shine brightly against the sky, and it made for some pretty cool shots of the rides. After photographs we ate at the Mexican Restaurant. We had crab nachos. I do not recommend these, as they were just “okay.” But the drinks were darn good. I had an on-the-rocks-dirty-with-salt margarita, and Kristy drank an amaretto margarita…YUM YUM………the salsa and guacamole were good too. Then we headed “home” and went to bed. We were still on EST and CST time, so we went to bed fairly early.
Friday 1/18/08
We woke up around 5:00 (PST) and drove to Marina del Rey for some sunrise photos of the boats, stopping by Starbucks for my usual venti-quad-no-whip mocha, and skinny chai latte for Kristy, on the way. Since we had not actually driven to the marina to see where a good place to take photographs would be, the photos were just not that great. We went back “home” and got ready for the day. We planned to drive to the Joshua Tree National Forest, which is about 2 hours outside of LA. It was a great drive, and we saw many many many wind turbines, though we did not stop to take photos. Perhaps, I’ll get those on the next trip. In addition to the Joshua Trees, there were many cool rock formations in the park. We took lots of pictures. By the time we left the park, it was too late to make it back to LA for sunset photos, so once again we headed “home.” We ate and drank in the restaurant at the top of the Radisson. We had quesadillas, screwdrivers, wine, and pizza. Again we went to bed somewhat early.
Saturday 1/19/08
This was a very full day. Again, we were up by 5:00 am and traveled to Kenneth Hahn Park, again with coffee and tea. Kenneth Hahn Park is in the middle of LA, and gives a great view of downtown, Hollywood Hills, and the other Mountain ranges. It was soooooo beautiful to watch the sunrise over LA from Kenneth Hahn Park. I highly recommend catching day’s beginning from here. After Kenneth Hahn, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the day. We used Allie to guide us to Sunset Blvd via La Cienega (this is a really really long street, as many are in LA). As we passed Norms Diner, we were suddenly hungry, so we drove around the block and parked at Norms. Norms was fun, and our server was great. The food was excellent as well. I ordered 2 scrambled eggs, hash browns (YUM) and an English muffin. Kristy ordered a California omelette, hash browns and an English muffin. After Norms, we headed to Griffith Observatory to check it out for the next morning’s sunrise, via Sunset Blvd. Once the researching for the next morning was complete, we headed back to Sunset Blvd to drive it the entire length to the Pacific Coast Highway, passing through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood and ending in Malibu. Point Dume in Malibu was the location for sunset photographs this day. We parked at Point Dume State Park, but had to climb some rocks to get a secluded section of beach where I wanted to take the photos. We arrived somewhat early so it was easy to see where I wanted to set up to watch the day end. While we waited we walked in the water (it was COLD), just sat, and Kristy wrote her name in the sand. Then the sun began its final descent, and the almost-full moon ascended above the rocks behind us. A family played in the water watching the sunset as well. After capturing the sunset shots, I packed my camera and tripod and we began our rock climbing back to the other side. As we were climbing, my attention was called to a guy that we were getting ready to pass on the rocks. He was traveling in the opposite direction than us. He kept pulling his hood over his face, as if he didn’t want anyone to see him. He didn’t do a very good job of hiding, as I think I recognized him as an actor. Before I realized who he was (if it really was him), I asked him how he was. Specifically I think I asked, "Hi. How are you?", though I can't recall precisely. He didn’t answer, and instead, just stared at me as we passed each other. Once we made it the other side of the rocks, I took my camera back out and took some more shots as the night sky moved closer. After pictures, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. We had reservations at Ago on Melrose Ave. It was a quite a cute restaurant and the food was very good. We started with wine, white for me, red for Kristy. We ate a fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil as an appetizer. Then for the main course, I had a Marguerita Pizza (I Love pizza!), and Kristy ate shrimp ravioli. Then to top off dinner, we ate tiramisu and some delicious rich chocolate mousse for dessert. YUM YUM YUM. I recommend this restaurant if you are in LA. Then we went home. 
Sunday 1/20/08
Oops…we forgot to set the alarm, so we missed sunrise this day. But that was fine because we were able to sleep in just a bit. So we got ready for the day, and headed to the Ivy for brunch. Lunch was good though, and the bloody mary’s were quite spicy. I ate huevos rancheros and Kristy had crabcakes. After lunch, we headed over to NBC Studios to see where Ellen’s Studio is, since we were planning to try and get Ellen tickets the next day. Once we saw where we would be going for Ellen, we headed to Mulholland Drive. It was a very curvy but very fun street to drive. There were many cool houses and great views of the city. We drove it all the entire length one way, turned around and drove it again in the other direction, stopping to catch the views of LA. After driving Mulholland Dr, we instructed Allie to take us to Point Vicente, near Palos Verdes. This was one of my favorite photograph spots of the trip. On the point is a working lighthouse on top of rugged cliffs. The glow of the setting sun reflected on the rocky cliffs and created a dramatic setting. It was BEAUTIFUL!!! After sunset we drove Sepulveda (also Pacific Coast 1) back to the hotel. For dinner we ate at In-N-Out Burger. We each got a cheeseburger, and fries, though I had my fries animal style (with cheese, grilled onions, and their special sauce). You should have seen the line in the drive through at this place. There were cars lined up for at least a block. It seemed to be a very popular place to eat. And it was good good! Then to bed we went.
Monday 1/21/08 (my birthday)
Originally we planned to get up really really early to wait in line to TRY and get Ellen tickets. We decided against this and instead started the day by heading to Rodeo Dr at 5:00 am or so. Upon arriving to Rodeo Dr, we each did cartwheels in the street in front of Georgio Armani—just for the sake of doing them (and possibly the start of a non-profit organization called Cartwheel Club with details to be determined). After Rodeo Dr, was Starbucks, where Kristy ordered her skinny chai latte, and I ordered my usual venti-quad-no-whip mocha. With coffee and tea in hands, we drove to the Griffith Observatory for the morning sunrise, since we had missed it the day before. As we approached the driveway to the observatory, we were told that the road was closed because a movie was being filmed. We parked along the edge of the road and walked up the hill. Once near the observatory, we headed to the side that faced downtown LA. The clouds were dramatic as the sun began to arise above the mountains. A colorful rainbow and beautiful clouds hovered over the lush greenery of the hills and valleys near Griffith Park and the observatory itself. The light was perfect, and it was a breathtaking and stunningly gorgeous morning. Afterwards Kristy found out that the movie being filmed was “Yes, Man." We hung around for awhile until the rain stopped the filming. When this happened we headed over to NBC Studios to see if we could by chance get tickets. Kristy and I had both tried to get them online to no avail. A production assistant, however, was kind enough to hand us stand-by tickets when we asked for them (because it was my birthday I think). With tickets #228 and #229 in our possession, we headed back to Griffith Observatory to watch more of the filming. We watched the filming for a bit, and then headed to the Denny’s on Alameda Ave. for lunch before the Ellen show. Moons Over My Hammy is what each of us ate. Then to the show we went. There was a lot of waiting, but everyone was nice and tried to pump us up for the show. Though we were not able to be part of the audience, because a lot people with guaranteed tickets showed up. We still had a blast in the riff raff room!! Ellen even came in and danced before the show started. At the end of the show, a production assistant came looking for Kristy Harris. She said that they wanted Kristy to perform her “talent” that she has filled out on the pre-show survey……We were laughing so hard that they wanted to see her throw a basketball really high and then catch it behind her back. Who knew she would be called on it. She was able to do it though, even after years of not having done it!We went back to the hotel for a drink, and then returned the rental car and Kristy flew on a red-eye flight. I took a shuttle back to the hotel and left early the next morning……..Overall, it was an awesome trip!